In the beginning, former AIASF President Henrik Bull and the Transamerica Pyramid did not get along. The building was an affront to late 1960’s modernist ideals. It was silly. It looked like a dunce cap. Its large scale had no respect for the neighborhood in which it lived.
But over 40 years, something happened…
Here’s that great article by San Francisco Chronicle urban design writer John King I mention a couple times in the episode.
Do you have a building or place in your city you once hated and now love, or something you loved and now hate? Leave a comment and share it with the rest of the class.
Here’s mine: The Montgomery Ward Headquarters building in Chicago never struck me as much of anything, really. Kind of dull, especially in a city like Chicago. But then I learned that the concrete corners on the outside were specifically designed to eliminate the possibility of a “corner office” so that Montgomery Ward would be a more egalitarian company. That really makes me smile, and the building looks cooler because of it.
Driving south on US 75, Central Expressway, through North Dallas, there used to be a series of office buildings across the highway, on the east side across from Northpark Mall. They were simply silver reflective glass rectangles, 3 or 4 of them, that grew progressively taller until once you crossed Northwest Highway there was a pair of twin gold glass-covered hotel towers. When built in the 1970s and 80s they looked so sleek and modern – think of the opening title scenes from the TV show, “Dallas.”
Most of them are gone now, replaced with upscale mixed-use shopping and residential apt towers, but before they tore them down I remember thinking how dated the look of the buildings had become as I aged. I can remember them as a child, seeming so shiny and modern and then as an adult they appeared shabby and dated.
i’m listening to this episode at work right now and am endlessly amused by the fact that I work for TransAmerica